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Sheep husbandry

Australian Merino Sheep

Sheep husbandry is the raising and breeding of domestic sheep, and a subcategory of animal husbandry. Sheep farming is primarily based on raising lambs for meat, or raising sheep for wool. Sheep may also be raised for milk. Some farmers specialize in breeding sheep to sell to other farmers.

Animal care

Shelter and environment

Sheep are kept in mobs in paddocks; in pens or in a barn. In cold climates sheep may need shelter if they are freshly shorn or have baby lambs. Freshly shorn hoggets, especially, are very susceptible to wet, windy weather and will succumb to exposure very quickly. Sheep have to be kept dry for one to two days before shearing so that the fleece is dry enough to be pressed and to protect the health of the shearers.

Health care

Drenching Merino hoggets

Sheep, particularly those kept inside, are vaccinated when they are newborn lambs. The lambs receive their first antibodies via their mother’s colostrum in the first few hours of life, and then via a vaccination booster every six weeks for next three months and then by booster every six months.

Weaning is a critical period in the life of young sheep as it is this time when more problems occur than at any other stage of a sheep’s life. Sheep of this age need careful observation as to their general health by noting any weaners that are hollow, have a pale skin or are falling behind the mob etc. Weaners are very susceptible to the deadly Barbers Pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), fly strike (Myiasis), scabby mouth, mycotic dermatitis, occasionally pneumonia, fluctuations in feed availability and general ill thrift.

Farmers work with animal nutritionists and veterinarians to keep sheep healthy and to manage animal health problems. Lambs may be castrated and have their tails docked for easier shearing, cleanliness and to help protect them from fly strike. Shearers or farmers need to remove wool from the hindquarters, around the anus, so that droppings do not adhere. In the southern hemisphere this is called dagging or crutching.

Water, food and air

Sheep need fresh water from troughs or ponds, except that in some countries, such as New Zealand, there is enough moisture in the grass to satisfy them much of the time.

Upon being weaned from ewe‘s milk, they eat hay, grains and grasses. The lambs are weaned due to increasing competition between the lamb and ewe for food[citation needed]. Sheep are active grazers where such feed is available at ground or low levels. They are usually given feed twice a day from troughs or they are allowed to graze in a pasture.

Sheep are most comfortable when the temperature is moderate, so fans may be needed for fresh air if sheep are kept in barns during hot weather. In Australia, sheep in pasture are often subjected to 40 °C (104 °F), and higher, daytime temperatures without deleterious effects. In New Zealand sheep are kept on pasture in snow for periods of 3 or 4 days before they have to have supplemental feeding.

Flock management styles

There are four general styles of sheep husbandry to serve the varied aspects of the sheep industry and the needs of a particular shepherd. Commercial sheep operations supplying meat and wool are usually either “range band flocks” or “farm flocks”. Range band flocks are those with large numbers of sheep (often 1,000 to 1,500 ewes) cared for by a few full-time shepherds[citation needed]. The pasture-which must be of large acreage to accommodate the greater number of sheep-can either be fenced or open. Range flocks usually require the shepherds to live with the sheep as they move throughout the pasture[citation needed], as well as the use of sheepdogs and means of transport such as horses or motor vehicles. As range band flocks move within a large area in which it would be difficult to supply a steady source of grain, almost all subsist on pasture alone. This style of sheep raising accounts for most of the sheep operations in the U.S., South America, and Australia[citation needed].

Yörük shepherd in the Taurus Mountains

Farm flocks are those that are slightly smaller than range bands, and are kept on a more confined, fenced pasture land. Farm flocks may also be a secondary priority on a larger farm, such as by farmers who raise a surplus of crops to finish market lambs on, or those with untillable land they wish to exploit. However, farm flocks account for many farms focused on sheep as primary income in the U.K. and New Zealand (due to the more limited land available in comparison to other sheep-producing nations). The farm flock is a common style of flock management for those who wish to supplement grain feed for meat animals.

An important corollary form of flock management to the aforementioned styles are specialized flocks raising purebred sheep. Many commercial flocks, especially those producing sheep meat, utilize cross-bred animals. Breeders raising purebred flocks provide stud stock to these operations, and often simultaneously work to improve the breed and participate in showing. Excess lambs are often sold to 4-H groups. The last type of sheep keeping is that of the hobbyist. This type of flock is usually very small compared to commercial operations, and may be considered pets. Those hobby flocks which are raised with production in mind may be for subsistence purposes or to provide a very specialized product, such as wool for handspinners. Quite a few people, especially those who emigrated to rural areas from urban or suburban enclaves, begin with hobby flocks or a 4-H lamb before eventually expanding to farm or range flocks[citation needed].

Goals of flock management

Branding sheep after shearing

A sheep farmer is concerned with keeping the correct ratio of male to female sheep[citation needed], selecting traits for breeding, and controlling under-/over-breeding based on the size and genetic diversity of the flock. Other tasks include sheep shearing, crutching and lambing the sheep.

Sheep breeders look for such traits in their flocks as high wool quality, consistent muscle development, quick conception rate (for females), multiple births and quick physical development.

Another concern of a sheep farmer is the protection of livestock. Sheep have many natural enemies, such as coyotes (North America), foxes (Europe), dingoes (Australia), and dogs. Newborn lambs in pasture are particularly vulnerable, also falling prey to crows, eagles and ravens. In addition, they are susceptible in some areas to flystrike which in itself has led to invention of practices such as mulesing.

Flock of sheep moving through a city early on a holiday morning

Sheep may be kept in a fenced-in field or paddock. The farmer must ensure that the fences are maintained in order to prevent the sheep from wandering onto roads or neighbours’ property. Alternatively, they may be “heafed” (trained to stay in a certain area without the need for fences). The hardy Herdwick breed is particularly known for its affinity for being heafed[citation needed].

A shepherd and a sheep dog may be employed for protection of the flock[citation needed]. On large farms, dogs and riders on horseback or motorcycles may muster sheep.

Marking of sheep for identification purposes is often done by means of sheep tags – a type of ear tag. In some areas sheep are still identified through the use of notches cut in the ear known as ear marking, using either specially designed tools (ear marking pliers) or other cutting implements.


Lambing is term for the management of birth in domestic sheep. In agriculture it often requires assistance from the farmer or shepherd because of breeding, climate or the individual physiology of the ewe.

Australian farmers generally arrange for all the ewes in a mob to give birth (the lambing season) within a period of a few weeks. As ewes sometimes fail to bond with newborn lambs, especially after delivering twins or triplets, it is important to minimize disturbances during this period.

In order to more closely manage the births, vaccinate lambs, and protect them from predators, shepherds will often have the ewes give birth in “lambing sheds”; essentially a barn (sometimes a temporary structure erected in the pasture) with individual pens for each ewe and her offspring.

Life cycle

Rams being taken to market

Ewes are pregnant for just under five months before they lamb, and may have anywhere from one to three lambs per birth. Some ewes can have seven or eight lambs[citation needed]. Twin and single lambs are most common, triplets less common. A ewe may lamb once or twice a year. Lambs are weaned at three months. Sheep are full grown at two years weighing between 60 and 125 kilograms. Sheep can live to eleven or twelve years of age.

Sheep production worldwide

A World War I era poster sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture encouraging children to raise sheep to provide needed war supplies.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations,[1] the top ten “indigenous sheep meat” producing countries in order of quantity are:

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. Iran
  4. UK
  5. Turkey
  6. Syria
  7. India
  8. Spain
  9. Sudan
  10. Pakistan

China actually has the greatest number of sheep in terms of number of livestock (See top ten list in Domestic sheep). While New Zealand rates number 2 on the list of total quantity of “indigenous sheep meat” produced, it has the highest number of sheep per-capita (outside of the Falkland Islands). Simon McCorkindale of Christchurch, New Zealand holds the current Guinness World Record for number of sheep owned by one man (384143) and was named Royal ovis Aires Breed Board of Indigenous Territories (RABBIT) breeder for 12 consecutive years.[2]

See also


External links


Filed under: Domba dan Kambing



Domba atau Biri-biri adalah ruminansia berkaki empat dengan rambut wol. Yang paling dikenal orang adalah domba peliharaan (Ovis aries), yang diduga keturunan dari moufflon liar dari Asia Tengah selatan dan barat-daya. Untuk tipe lain dari domba dan kerabat dekatnya, lihat kambing antilop. Domba berbeda dengan kambing.


Paling tidak ada tujuh spesies domba:

Banyak peranakan domba terjadi, biasanya dibagi menjadi:

  • peranakan wol, atau
  • peranakan daging, atau
  • kedua di atas.

Topik berhubungan

Domba Australia di Canberra



  • Juliet Clutton-Brocl. A natural history of domesticated animals (London 1987).
  • Journal of Heredity. 1998 Mar-Apr;89(2):113-20. Analysis of
    mitochondrial DNA indicates that domestic sheep are derived from two
    different ancestral maternal sources: no evidence for contributions
    from urial and argali sheep.
    Hiendleder S, Mainz K, Plante Y, Lewalski H.

Filed under: Domba dan Kambing



Domestication (from Latin domesticus) or taming refers to the process whereby a population of living things becomes accustomed to a controlled environment by other plants or animals through a process of selection. The most common form of domestication is artificial selection by humans. Humans have brought these populations under their care for a wide range of reasons: to produce food or valuable commodities (such as wool, cotton, or silk), for help with various types of work (such as transportation or protection), for protection of themselves and livestock, to enjoy as companions or ornamental plant, and for scientific research, such as finding cures for certain diseases.

Plants domesticated primarily for aesthetic enjoyment in and around the home are usually called house plants or ornamentals, while those domesticated for large-scale food production are generally called crops. A distinction can be made between those domesticated plants that have been deliberately altered or selected for special desirable characteristics (see cultigen) and those domesticated plants that are essentially no different from their wild counterparts (assuming domestication does not necessarily imply physical modification). Likewise, animals domesticated for home companionship are usually called pets while those domesticated for food or work are called livestock or farm animals.

There is debate within the scientific community over how the process of domestication works. Some researchers give credit to natural selection, where mutations outside of human control make some members of a species more compatible to human cultivation or companionship. Others have shown that carefully controlled selective breeding is responsible for many of the collective changes associated with domestication. These categories are not mutually exclusive and it is likely that natural selection and selective breeding have both played some role in the processes of domestication throughout history.[1] Either way, a process of selection is involved.

The domestication of wheat is an example of this. Wild wheat falls to the ground to reseed itself when it is ripe, but domesticated wheat stays on the stem when it is ripe. There is evidence that this critical change came about as a result of a random mutation near the beginning of wheat’s cultivation. Wheat with this mutation was the only wheat harvested and became the seed for the next crop. This wheat was much more useful to farmers and became the basis for the various strains of domesticated wheat that have since been developed.[2]

The example of wheat has led some to speculate that mutations may have been the basis for other early instances of domestication. It is speculated that a mutation made some wolves less wary of humans. This allowed these wolves to start following humans to scavenge for food in their garbage dumps. Presumably something like a symbiotic relationship developed between humans and this population of wolves. The wolves benefited from human food scraps, and humans may have found that the wolves could warn them of approaching enemies, help with hunting, carry loads, provide warmth, or supplement their food supply. As this relationship evolved, humans eventually began to raise the wolves and breed the types of dogs that we have today.

Nonetheless, some researchers maintain that selective breeding rather than mutation or natural selection best explains how the process of domestication typically worked. Some of the most well-known evidence in support of selective breeding comes from an experiment by Russian scientist, Dmitri Belyaev, in the 1950s. His team spent many years breeding the Silver Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and selecting only those individuals that showed the least fear of humans. Eventually, Belyaev’s team selected only those that showed the most positive response to humans. He ended up with a population of grey-coloured foxes whose behavior and appearance was significantly changed. They no longer showed any fear of humans and often wagged their tails and licked their human caretakers to show affection. More importantly, these foxes had floppy ears, smaller skulls, rolled tails and other traits commonly found in dogs.

Despite the success of this experiment, some scientists believe that selective breeding cannot always achieve domestication. They point out that known attempts to domesticate several kinds of wild animals in this way have failed repeatedly. The zebra is one example. Despite the fact that four species of zebra are interbreedable with and part of the same genus as the horse and the donkey, attempts at domestication have failed.[3] It is possible that the historical process of domestication cannot be fully explained by any one principle acting alone. Some combination of natural selection and selective breeding may have played a role in the domestication of the various species that humans have come into close contact with throughout history.

[edit] Animals

According to evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond, animal species must meet six criteria in order to be considered for domestication:

Hereford cattle, domesticated for beef production.

  1. Flexible diet — Creatures that are willing to consume a wide variety of food sources and can live off less cumulative food from the food pyramid (such as corn or wheat) are less expensive to keep in captivity. Carnivores by their very nature only feed on meat, which requires the expenditure of many animals.
  2. Reasonably fast growth rate — Fast maturity rate compared to the human life span allows breeding intervention and makes the animal useful within an acceptable duration of caretaking. Large animals such as elephants require many years before they reach a useful size.
  3. Ability to be bred in captivity — Creatures that are reluctant to breed when kept in captivity do not produce useful offspring, and instead are limited to capture in their wild state. Creatures such as the panda, antelope and giant forest hogs are territorial when breeding and cannot be maintained in crowded enclosures in captivity.
  4. Pleasant disposition — Large creatures that are aggressive toward humans are dangerous to keep in captivity. The African buffalo has an unpredictable nature and is highly dangerous to humans. Although similar to domesticated pigs in many ways, American peccaries and Africa’s warthogs and bushpigs are also dangerous in captivity.
  5. Temperament which makes it unlikely to panic — A creature with a nervous disposition is difficult to keep in captivity as they will attempt to flee whenever they are startled. The gazelle is very flighty and it has a powerful leap that allows it to escape an enclosed pen. Some animals, such as Domestic sheep, still have a strong tendency to panic when their flight zone is crossed. However, most sheep also show a flocking instinct, whereby they stay close together when pressed. Livestock with such an instinct may be herded by people and dogs.
  6. Modifiable social hierarchy — Social creatures that recognize a hierarchy of dominance can be raised to recognize a human as the pack leader.

Filed under: Sejarah,

Animal Husbandry


Animal husbandry, also called animal science, stockbreeding or simple husbandry, is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock. It has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals. The science of animal husbandry is taught in many universities and colleges around the world. Students of animal science may pursue degrees in veterinary medicine following graduation, or go on to pursue master’s degrees or doctorates in disciplines such as nutrition, genetics and animal breeding, or reproductive physiology. Graduates of these programs may be found working in the veterinary and human pharmaceutical industries, the livestock and pet supply and feed industries, farming or in academia. Historically, certain sub-professions within the field of animal husbandry are specifically named according to the animals that are cared for.

A swineherd is a person who cares for hogs and pigs (older English term: swine). A shepherd is a person who cares for sheep. A goatherd cares for goats. A cowherd cares for cattle. In previous years, it was common to have herds which were made up of sheep and goats. In his case, the person tending them was called a shepherd. Camels are also cared for in herds. In Tibet yaks are herded. In Latin America, llamas and alpacas are herded.

In more modern times, the cowboys or vaqueros of North and South America ride horses and participate in cattle drives to watch over cows and bulls raised primarily for food. In Australia many herds are managed by farmers on motorbikes and in helicopters. Today, herd managers often oversee thousands of animals and many staff. Farms and ranches may employ breeders, herd health specialists, feeders, and milkers to help care for the animals. Techniques such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer are frequently used, not only as methods to guarantee that females are bred, but to help improve herd genetics. This may be done by transplanting embryos from stud-quality females, into flock-quality surrogate mothers – freeing up the stud-quality mother to be reimpregnated. This practice vastly increases the number of offspring which may be produced by a small selection of stud-quality parent animals. This in turn improves the ability of the animals to convert feed to meat, milk, or fiber more efficiently and improve the quality of the final

Filed under: Peternakan